Sri Lanka’s United National Front suggests drastic proposals in manifesto


July 24, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s United National Front for Good Governance on Thursday unveiled its election manifesto aimed at creating a competitive social market economy based on knowledge.

Proposed social market economy seeks to expand the base of open economy or economic democracy in the country within 60 months.

The manifesto has addressed five main categories namely economy, corruption, freedom, infrastructure and education.

Apart from the proposals to pass the Right to Information act, National Audit Act, Ethics code, 6 percent of GDP for education and election reforms, the most significant proposals are listed below.

— An act titled as ‘Development (Special Provisions) Act’ is to be presented to the Parliament which enforces the government to generate one million job opportunities for youth.

— Increased allowances of public servants will be added to the basic salaries.

— A programme to provide houses for public servants at concessionary prices while increasing the ‘Agrahara’ payments for them and pensioners.

— Private sector salaries will be increased by 1,000 rupees from January 2016 and a new law will be introduced in this regard while expanding the wages control board.

— Small investors will be provided up to 500,000 rupees of loans to invest in Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).

— All state owned enterprises will be brought under a limited state owned enterprises company and will be controlled as a limited liability company.

— A public security trust will be established to manage EPF and ETF funds and the trust will manage the investments already in the CSE as well as in local and foreign securities.

— The trust will be legalized and trustees will be appointed through the constitutional council.

— Both the ‘state owned enterprises company limited’ and the trust will be brought under the supervision of Parliament.

— An ‘Ombudsman’ will be appointed on behalf of tax payers.

— Bribery or Corruption Commission will be replaced with a new commission with strong powers such as the one in Hong Kong and UK.

— FCID will be legalized with a Parliamentary Act and a University for Police will be established.

— 1947 Ceylon Independence Act will be repealed cutting the last legal connection with the United Kingdom Parliament.

— Powers will be separated at the maximum level with the consensus of all under a unitary state.

— The President will act according to the instructions of the Prime Minister and the cabinet who responsible for the Parliament which in turn protect the supremacy of the Parliament.

However the existing special powers exercised by President Maithripala Sirisena will be remain unchanged.

— A council like the senate will be established to instruct the government which will have powers to send back an Act to Parliament to reconsider.

— Constitutional council will be re established to include only Speaker, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and representatives from the civil society.

— It is proposed to develop one mega city in the Western province and to set up 45 economic development super zones in the country, 23 agricultural development super zones and ten fisheries economic development super zones.

— Apart from that 11 industry and technology development super zones and two tourism development super zones included in the manifesto.

— It proposes to create 2,500 cluster villages for rural development which will receive government funds separately to these centers.

— A ‘value added tea export products company’ for tea small holders and a ‘small and medium scale enterprises promotion board’ for SMEs to be established.

— Maids will be provided sub contracts for product components to join the economic supply chain as a solution for Middle East immigration.

— The election manifesto also proposes to bring new laws for those want to leave security forces and the government will be assisted to build houses for them while training them for a job.

— Sri Lanka forces will be deployed at humanitarian operations along the Indian Ocean sea route contributing United Nations forces.

— New act will be introduced to prevent distribution of drugs.

— 500,000 house units to be constructed for urban and semi urban people.

— The provision for free healthcare service from the budget will be increased from the current 1.8 percent to 3.0 percent.

— Technical colleges will be upgraded to Colleges of Technologies and 18 new international universities will be introduced for technology.

— International schools will also be included in the country’s education policy.

— Art, Music and Philosophy will be compulsory for all university students.

— At least two degree courses aimed at international market to be introduced by each university by 2017.

— Apart from these various types of institutions will be set up for secondary and tertiary education.